The GearJunkie crew is heading “off the map” again this week to film episode No. 3 in our new video series. After trekking California’s Lost Coast in March and then a kayaking adventure to sea caves on Lake Superior, we’re pointing the car northwest to head for the Maah Daah Hey Trail in the Badlands of western North Dakota.
Sponsored by Yakima, our “Off The Map” video series explores obscure adventures around North America. The Maah Daah Hey, a little-traveled 97-mile track, certainly qualifies. In what’s a Martian-like landscape the old horse route dips and climbs on tacky bentonite clay over buttes, through open fields, and into a desert wilderness that’s about as remote as you can find in the lower 48s.
As a group, we have ridden the Maah Daah Hey a few times, including in 2006, where I covered the trail in a story for the New York Times. (Check out our “looking back” post on GearJunkie in 2007 for a flavor for what that epic experience involved!)
Jason Magness, captain of Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers, grew up in North Dakota, and he’s done the trail in summer and winter months. Magness, our cameraman and writer T.C. Worley, racer Andrei Karpov, and a few other GearJunkie people will be on the trip this week, where we’ll push through the trail in a two-day effort.
Word from locals we’ve talked to this week is that the trail is a bit washed out (non-existent in places) and the water pumps have yet to be turned on at campsites dotting the route. We’ll be drinking from streams and sleeping tent-less in the dirt, just how we like to roll! Stay tuned for a trip report and, in a month, a produced “Off The Map” video on the full Maah Daah Hey experience. Time to ride!